Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Former President Donald Trump has gone to court to prevent congressional Democrats from obtaining his tax returns.
Trump's lawyers on Wednesday filed a motion in federal court accusing the Democrat-led House Ways and Means Committee of seeking his tax returns for political gain and not for "valid oversight."
"The requests single out President Trump because he is a Republican and a political opponent," the 37-page filing reads. "They were made to retaliate against President Trump because of his policy positions, his political beliefs and his protected speech, including the positions he took during the 2016 and 2020 campaigns."
The legal maneuver comes in response to the U.S. Justice Department last week directing the U.S. Treasury Department to hand over Trump's tax returns to the committee. In a legal opinion, the Justice Department said the congressional committee had "sufficient" reasons for requesting the returns, including "serious concerns" about how the Internal Revenue Service is auditing presidents' tax returns. In 2019, the Trump administration's Justice Department issued a memo denying the request for the returns.
The filing from Trump's lawyers argues that the committee's request is not a legitimate legislative purpose. It said the Justice Department's new stance relies on "wobbly justifications and shallow reasoning."
Trump is the first major party candidate to not publicly release his tax returns in the last 40 years. In February, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered Trump's tax records to be handed over to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. as part of a probe into the Trump Organization's business practices.